investor-state disputes | ISDS

Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) refers to a way of handling conflicts under international investment agreements whereby companies from one party are allowed to sue the government of another party. This means they can file a complaint and seek compensation for damages. Many BITs and investment chapters of FTAs allow for this if the investor’s expectation of a profit has been negatively affected by some action that the host government took, such as changing a policy. The dispute is normally handled not in a public court but through a private abritration panel. The usual venues where these proceedings take place are the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (World Bank), the International Chamber of Commerce, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law or the International Court of Justice. ISDS is a hot topic right now because it is being challenged very strongly by concerned citizens in the context of the EU-US TTIP negotiations, the TransPacific Partnership talks and the CETA deal between Canada and the EU.


TTIP: algo más que un TLC

30-Jul-2015 Público La Asociación Transatlántica para el Comercio y la Inversión entre EEUU y la UE (ATCI) o TTIP por sus siglas en inglés, trasciende las históricas implicaciones de los Tratados de Libre Comercio (TLC).

  • 4-Mar-2015 Bangkok Post
    Thailand must stand firm in trade deal talks

    The investment chapter under the proposed TPP and the Thailand-EU FTA, if adopted, might place Thailand’s substantive ability to protect public interests at risk, warns Jakkrit Kuanpoth.

  • 4-Mar-2015 Australia Broadcasting Corporation
    Where are the TPP negotiations up to?

    Discussion with Susan Sell, Matthew Rimmer and Jane Kelsey

  • 3-Mar-2015 Global Arbitration Review
    Is ICSID heading in the wrong direction?

    As ICSID celebrates the 50th anniversary of its creation this week, a former acting secretary general of the centre, Nassib Ziadé, says it’s time to talk about some of its problems – including flawed appointment processes and a lack of guidance on arbitrator challenges.

  • 2-Mar-2015 Mediapart
    Tafta : le gouvernement embarrassé par une fuite (Mediapart)

    La fuite d’une note fixant la position des autorités françaises sur les négociations du traité de libre-échange avec les États-Unis (accords transatlantiques, Tafta ou TTIP) a fait naître le doute sur ce que défend ou non le gouvernement français, rapporte Mediapart.

  • 2-Mar-2015 Dawn
    New bilateral investment treaty model

    Pakistan’s Board of Investment is working on Pakistan’s own template of a bilateral investment treaty, which will replace previous treaties and serve as basis for new ones.

  • 27-Feb-2015 La Croix
    Guerre de la cigarette entre Philip Morris et l’Uruguay

    Alors que l’Organisation mondiale de la santé célèbre vendredi 27 février les dix ans de la Convention-cadre pour la lutte antitabac, l’Uruguay, pionnier dans ce combat, fait l’objet d’une plainte déposée il y a cinq ans par le cigarettier Philip Morris.

  • 27-Feb-2015 EurActiv
    France makes U-turn on TTIP arbitration

    In a letter to French MEPs, seen by EurActiv France, the French Secretariat General for European Affairs (SGAE) appears to have made a U-turn on the position so far defended by Mathias Fekl, the Secretary of State for Foreign Trade.

  • 27-Feb-2015 EurActiv
    La France fait marche arrière sur l’arbitrage dans le TTIP

    Dans une note transmise aux élus français, le Secrétariat Général aux Affaires Européennes appelle à ne pas fermer totalement la porte aux mécanismes de règlements des différends investisseurs-Etat.

  • 26-Feb-2015 Washington Post
    The Trans-Pacific Partnership clause everyone should oppose

    "Agreeing to ISDS in this enormous new treaty would tilt the playing field in the United States further in favor of big multinational corporations. Worse, it would undermine U.S. sovereignty," writes Elizabeth Warren.

  • 26-Feb-2015 IGJ
    Update on Indonesia BITs review

    Indonesia for Global Justice together with Indonesian civil society networks met with the Director of Bilateral Cooperation of Investment Coordinating Board, Fritz Horas Silalahi, in Jakarta to discuss the review of Indonesia Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITS).

  • 26-Feb-2015 ViEUws
    ISDS in EU-Singapore deal too favourable to corporations, should be modified according to lead MEP David Martin

    David Martin MEP (S&D, UK), the European Parliament’s rapporteur on the EU-Singapore trade deal, criticises the infamous ISDS (investor-to-state dispute settlement) part of the agreement.

  • 25-Feb-2015 Le Monde
    La gauche européenne unie pour réformer les tribunaux d’arbitrage internationaux

    A défaut de l’écarter complètement des négociations du Tafta/TTIP (et de son petit cousin, l’accord CETA entre l’Europe et le Canada), comme le réclame une bonne partie de la société civile, la gauche européenne souhaite réformer en profondeur ce mécanisme d’arbitrage pour limiter ses dérives.

  • 24-Feb-2015 Le Monde
    European Left united to reform international arbitration tribunals

    Rather than abandoning completely the TTIP/TAFTA negotiations (and their little cousin CETA, an agreement between Canada and the EU) which is what a good part of civil society are calling for, the European Left wants to thoroughly reform this arbitral mechanism to limits its abuses.

  • 20-Feb-2015 UNCTAD
    UNCTAD releases review of trends in investment agreements and investor-State dispute settlement

    ​In 2014, countries concluded one international investment agreement every other week. Investors continue to use investor-State dispute settlement, but the number of new cases does not reach the record high of previous years.

  • 19-Feb-2015 TNI
    ISDS beyond TTIP: EU reforms and impacts on the Global South

    Public event organised by Transnational Institute, Friends of the Earth Europe and Traidcraft on 4 March 2015 in Brussels

  • 18-Feb-2015 Counter Punch
    Corporate coup d’état: Those crappy trade deals

    The corporate media would prefer that people know nothing about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), the US-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and other trade deals.

  • 16-Feb-2015 The News
    Dar briefed on BIT regime

    Pakistan Finance minister says the government will review its existing bilateral investment treaties and develop a template for future ones.

  • 13-Feb-2015 Scoop
    Protect our climate and health, not multinational profits

    This week’s edition of world-leading medical journal The Lancet includes a call by 27 health experts from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, the USA, and Vietnam for the TPPA to be made public so its overall health impacts can be assessed.

  • 13-Feb-2015 Stop TTIP
    Germany: Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) is unconstitutional

    A report authored by Prof. Dr. Siegfried Broß and recently published by the German Hans Böckler Stiftung concludes that the Investor-State-Dispute Settlement (ISDS) tribunals currently planned to be included in the TTIP and CETA free-trade agreements are not in accordance with Germany’s constitution.

  • 9-Feb-2015 JD Supra
    The ’Law 42’ arbitrations against Ecuador and the importance of BIT language

    Three recent ICSID decisions involving Ecuador highlight the importance of language addressing the status of taxes in investment treaties.

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